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Curitiba is the capital city of the southern Brazilian state of Paraná. Its population is almost 1,8 million (over 3.2 million in its greater metropolitan area). It is the largest city in Southern Brazil and one of the largest in Brazil. Its Afonso Pena International Airport is one of the most modern Brazilian terminals offering direct flights from Curitiba to other countries in South America, as well as flights to other cities in Brazil.
Curitiba was established in 1693 by the Portuguese and officially became a town in 1721. Its original name was "Vila da Nossa Senhora da Luz dos Pinhais" (Our Lady of the Light in the Pine Forest) but was re-named in 1721. It is believed that “Curtitiba” comes from the Tupi Indian words “core tuba” or many pines – the region has huge quantities of Brazilian Pines (Araucaria angustifolia). European immigrants started arriving after 1850, mainly Germans, Italians, Poles and Ukrainians which gives Curitiba and incredibly diverse cultural heritage.
The city is in the Subtropical region, within the Atlantic Rainforest region that extends along the eastern side of the country, and is sited on a plateau 932 m (3107 ft) above sea level with the upper peaks of a mountain range creating a barrier that separate it from the Atlantic Ocean just 105 km (65 miles) away.
The flat terrain, lakes and marshland contribute to its mild damp winters, where the average seasonal temperature of 13°C (57°F) in the coldest month falls slightly below 0°C (32°F) on the coldest days. During summer, the average temperature is around 21°C (70°F), but often gets above 32ºC (90ºF) on hot days – occasional in the upper 30s ºC.
Rivers drain through the plateau to Iguassu Falls (in the State of Paraná) – a few hours drive away from Curitiba – which borders with Argentina and Paraguay.
Curitiba's climate is generally pleasant all year round though locals complain that the weather is unpredictable. Heat waves occur during winter and cold waves occuring during summer are not uncommon – so perhaps they are justified. Even within a single day there can be great variation, a typical feature of subtropical climate. It is said that "Curitiba is a city in which the four seasons are clearly defined, and it has all four in a day!" Foreign visitors need to be prepared!
The city and nearby countryside offer tremendous photographic opportunities to capture images of culture, people, nature, historic buildings etc. The city has several parks and museums, nature reserves, easy access to the rainforest, and a host of restaurants and bars. There are many hotels of varying standard up to 5 stars. And all of this is just 12 hours or so away from Heathrow (approx 2.8 Tonnes of CO2 emmissions / £21.50 in CO2 offset) by plane! Well worth a visit … and the author of this note lives there for most of the year.